Definition of profligate
- profligate spending
- leading a profligate life
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She was very profligate in her spending.
profligate movie producers hoping to create the next blockbuster
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'profligate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
When a royal record keeper reported the "profligation of the knights" almost five centuries ago, he didn't mean the knights were wildly indulging in excesses; he meant they were thoroughly defeated in battle. There's nothing etymologically extreme there; the Latin verb profligare, which is the root of both profligate and the much rarer profligation (meaning "ruin"), means "to strike down," "to destroy," or "to overwhelm." When the adjective profligate first appeared in print in English it meant "overthrown" or "overwhelmed," (a sense that is now obsolete) but over time the word's meaning shifted to "immoral" or "wildly extravagant."
First Known Use: 1617See Words from the same year
a profligate who could not really afford the grand style he maintained at Monticello, Jefferson died deeply in debt
a drunken profligate, he was given to wretched excess in every aspect of his life
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